Last week violin virtuoso Kishi Bashi announced his fourth studio album, Omoiyari, which drops on May 31st courtesy of Joyful Noise Recordings.
As someone who *full disclosure* had the pleasure of working as K’s day to day manager during the release of his 2016 release, Sonderlust, and heard the early ruminations about the forthcoming Omoiyari: A Songfilm documentary and now a full-fledged album, I have been eagerly waiting and silently cheering with every Instagram story update he’s done around this project. The album is a musical statement on the turbulent sociopolitical atmosphere of present-day America. Recognizing the parallels between the current U.S. administration’s constant talk of walls and bans, and the xenophobic anxieties that led to the forced internment of Japanese-Americans in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he immersed himself in that period, visiting former prison sites and listening to the stories of survivors, while developing musical concepts along the way. The unique creative process behind Omoiyari will be documented in the Songfilm documentary scheduled for release in early 2020
The first taste from the forthcoming album, “Summer of ‘42”, is a love story set in WWII about falling in love in an incarceration camp and ultimately losing that love. As K explained, “The significance is that the idea of love, loss, and desire are consistent themes throughout history and help us to empathize with a people in a disconnected past.”
There is so much to admire about this literal labor of love that K is about to unveil to the masses, all the way down to how meticulous he was with naming the project. As he reflected, “I gravitated toward themes of empathy, compassion, and understanding as a way to overcome fear and intolerance. But I had trouble finding an English title for the piece. Omoiyari is a Japanese word. It doesn't necessarily translate as empathy, but it refers to the idea of creating compassion towards other people by thinking about them. I think the idea of omoiyari is the single biggest thing that can help us overcome aggression and conflict.”
Omoiyari is available now for pre-order.
Kishi Bashi will be performing select dates around the release of Omoiyari, which are below.
1. Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear
2. F Delano
4. A Song For You
6. Summer of ‘42
7. Theme From Jerome (Forgotten Words)
8. A Meal For Leaves
9. Violin Tsunami
10. Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea
Kishi Bashi 2019 Tour Dates:
06/08 - Athens, GA @ Georgia Theater
06/11 - Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge
06/12 - San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
06/14 - Portland, OR @ The Old Church
06/16 - Seattle, WA @ Washington Hall
06/18 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
06/19 - Brooklyn, NY @ Murmrr Theatre
06/20 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club